Brazil’s Globo, Latin America’s biggest TV group, is for the first time ever bringing its huge production might to 100% Spanish-language production at Globo Studios, teaming with Daniel Burman, a leading light of the New Argentine Cinema, to create TV series “Supermax.”
TV Azteca will broadcast “Supermax” in Mexico.
An adventure-thriller, “Supermax” will be unveiled to potential buyers at Natpe on Tuesday Jan. 19, on the market’s first day of trading. It weighs in as not only Globo’s flagship 2016 new series but also the first fruit of a new strategy that could see the Spanish-speaking TV world gaining a giant new production player.
On “Supermax,” this groundbreaking move sees Globo linking to prominent movie figures in the Latino film business. Director of 2003 feature film “The Lost Embrace,” that scooped Berlin’s Grand Jury Prize and a best actor Silver Bear for Daniel Hendler, Burman serves as “Supermax” showrunner/director, with the collaboration of Argentina’s Hernan Goldfrid, helmer of movie “Thesis of a Crime,” a hit 2013 psychological thriller starring Ricardo Darin.
Of very early key cast, the “Supermax” TV series will star Spain’s Santiago Segura, writer-director-star of “Torrente,” its biggest ever movie franchise, and Brazil’s Bruno Gagliasso (“Caminho das Indias,” “The Dognapper”). Globo and Burman are currently in talks with Spanish-speaking market stars, known across the region. Series writers include Mario Segade (“Farsantes”), and Marcos Antonio Vidal.
Globo has co-produced in the Spanish language before, with partners in the U.S. Latino market plus Mexico and Portugal. But “Supermax” is an evolution, being both created and fully-financed by Globo and the first Globo international market project to shoot at Globo Studios, benefitting from their high production levels, said Ricardo Scalamandre, Globo international business head.
“Supermax” will also mark the first series to go into production at Burman Office, an ambitious development-screenwriting company Burman launched out of Buenos Aires in May 2015.
It also reflects bigger picture trends: “After an era of largely low-budget and local productions, Latin America has built up into a very strong TV market. That strength allows us now to create big fictions which, language notwithstanding, have potential worldwide,” Burman argued.
Targeting the international market and going into production April/May at Globo Studios, “Supermax’s” first season will be made up of ten one hours, Scalamandre added.
Set in a fictitious Latin American country in the middle of desert, per Scalamandre, “Supermax” is a “distinctive genre blend mix of adventure and psychological thriller which make the series completely unpredictable,” Burman said. “Supermax” turns on eight somewhat eccentric characters that arrive at a maximum-security prison, now the set of an extreme survival reality TV show.
“Many people want to lock themselves up in TV fiction, flee their own daily lives, limitations, unfulfilled dreams, their own hells. The characters think they can escape from themselves via the reality show. But the prison proves their own hell which they have no option but to face,” Burman commented.
Throwing a plot curveball, the penitentiary was the scene of a bloody inmate uprising 10 years before.
Segura plays a TV presenter who’s fallen on hard times and has just this shot at a comeback; Bruno Gagliasso will play a transsexual who aims to win the $2 million reality TV show prize to complete his identity transformation.
But once in the jail he has to confront his real identity that isn’t as clear as he wanted. “All the characters enter with a clear aim that is immediately overturned by the impact of fiction or reality,” Burman observed.
“Supermax” was created in a Brazilian writers’ room at Globo’s Projac studios. The Brazilian version will screen on Globo.
“We realized, however, that, independent of having a Brazilian series with Brazilian talent for broadcast in Brazil, we had a fantastic universal story and the opportunity and great idea to make a series totally for the international market,” Scalamandre observed.
Burman also co-produced “The Motorcycle Diaries,” helmed by Walter Salles.